May 13, 2018-
For too many years to count, many in the state Legislature have been telling Philadelphia to solve its own funding problems, including when it comes to public education. So we did. Acting on this urging from Harrisburg, the city enacted a beverage tax on sweetened drinks and now raises more than $80 million in local funding to improve public education and fight poverty.
Now, some of these same legislators, led by Allegheny County Republican Rep. Mark Mustio, want to kill the effective beverage tax by banning local communities from taxing food and beverages at the local level, preempting any attempts for local officials to “solve their own problems.” Proponents of Mustio’s bill (HB2241) say preemption is necessary because the beverage tax is an unfair “government overreach” on local citizens. It’s ironic given their solution is government overreach; that is, proposing state legislation to override a law passed by a local government to address a local issue. Nevertheless, they forge ahead. So why does it matter?